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Series / Cinderella and the Four Knights

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Cinderella and the Four Knights is a 2016 South Korean Drama that aired on tvN. It is adapted from a Web Serial Novel of the same name.

Eun Ha-won (Park So-dam) is a bright, hardworking high school senior. Her father works away from home for months at a time, so she lives with her abusive stepmother and stepsister and works several part-time jobs to support herself. After a handful of incidents involving the Kang cousins, three scions of the prestigious Haneul corporation, their grandfather becomes intrigued by her. He recruits Ha-won to be the cousins' live-in minder at the Sky House, the mansion they all share, in an attempt to get them to mature. She'll complete missions on behalf of him, and in turn, he'll pay for her tuition.

The titular "four knights" are:

  • Kang Ji-woon (Jung Il-woo), a mechanic who grew up in poverty before being formally claimed by the Kangs;
  • Kang Hyun-min (Ahn Jae-hyun), the current heir and an arrogant playboy;
  • Kang Seo-woo (Lee Jung-shin), a good-natured singer;
  • Lee Yoon-sung (Choi Min), Chairman Kang's right-hand man and bodyguard.

After some growing pains, Ha-won finds that she can get the three young, handsome, rich men in line. However, there's only one rule: no dating.

Supporting characters include Park Hye-ji (Son Na-eun), Hyun-min's childhood friend who attempts to get back in a relationship with him; Ji Hwa-ja (Kim Hye Ri), Chairman Kang's imperious and scheming fifth wife, and Choi Yu-na (Go Bo-gyeol), Ha-won's ditzy but cruel stepsister.


  • Arranged Marriage: Defied. In retaliation for crashing his wedding, Hyun-min is forced into an arranged marriage meeting with an heiress. He gets out of it by kissing Hye-ji, which sufficiently disgusts the other woman.
  • Bad Bedroom, Bad Life: Ha-won's Wicked Stepmother and stepsister make her sleep in the balcony/storage area while her father is away (and pretend that she shares a room with said stepsister when he comes for a visit). When she is given a luxurious bedroom to stay in at Haneul House, the bed is too soft for her and she sleeps on the floor.
  • Bad Influencer: Yu-na is spoiled and mean, and is fittingly some sort of beauty influencer.
  • Big Fancy House: Haneul House, a hilltop mansion deemed one of the top 100 contemporary architectural marvels in the world, outfitted with a state-of-the-art security system, a private gym, and beautiful interior design.
  • Clashing Cousins: The reason the Kang cousins draw so much intrigue is that they are never seen in the same room together due to their contrasting personalities. Ji-woon and Hyun-min are the most antagonistic; their establishing character moments in the first episode are getting into a spat about their shared heritage.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Yoon-sung is eventually caught between his loyalty to his admirable boss, Chairman Kang, and Hwa-ja, his mother and Kang's wife who is planning to oust him.
  • Do Not Call Me Sir: The housekeeper Ms. Beolgyo refers to Ha-won as "miss", because she's a guest at Haneul House. Ha-won, being poor herself, is uncomfortable with this and insists against it.
  • Dope Slap: After he talks down to her in the second episode, Ha-won hits Ji-woon in the back of the head.
  • Easy Amnesia: Discussed in episode 9. After she suffers a mild concussion and wakes up in the hospital, Ha-won comments that she always thought she'd be out for weeks and wake up with memory loss.
  • Fairytale Motifs: Ha-won tries to disabuse some children of the Cinderella story in the opening, claiming that princes aren't real and you have to make your own way in the world. She herself is a young woman abused by her Wicked Stepmother who becomes proximal to wealth after she falls in with the absurdly wealthy Kang family.
  • First Girl After All: Ha-won sees Ji-woon early in the first episode, but it's Hyun-min she physically meets first. By the time of the finale Ha-won and Ji-woon are pretty clearly the show's Official Couple, which is solidified by the revelation that they had previously met as kids at their mother's funerals.
  • Fist of Rage: When confronted with arrogant rich guys who refuse to pay for the pizza they ordered, Ha-won clenches her fist. The next shot sees him go flying across the room.
  • From Roommates to Romance: After Ha-won is driven out of her home by her Wicked Stepmother, she is invited to live with three mega-rich cousins, all of whom are potential love interests for her. She ends up with the middle cousin, Ji-woon, whom she had actually met prior to their cohabitation.
  • I Have This Friend: In episode 10, Ha-won seeks romantic advice from Ja-won and frames it as an ordeal her "mother's friend's son" is going through.
  • Heroic Bastard: In the second episode, Ha-won's father's poor treatment of her is partially explained: her deceased mother actually had her with another man. Though this is proven false after the Kang group does some digging.)
  • Kindly Housekeeper: In contrast to the late teens/early twenties cast, their housekeeper Ms. Beolgyo is middle-aged. She warms quickly to the houseguest Ha-won and helps her achieve her missions.
  • Millionaire Playboy: Hyun-min throws millions of won around without a care in the world and has a new girlfriend every week.
  • Nice Mean And In Between: The three Kang cousins and their initial treatment of Ha-won: affable singer Seo-woo is immediately kind to her (nice), playboy Hyun-min is haughty but charming towards her (in-between), and icy rebel Ji-woon is persistently rude to her and is quick to assume the worst (mean).
  • Not with Them for the Money: Platonic variation. Chairman Kang becomes determined to hire Ha-won to mind his grandsons because she's not only unimpressed by their infinite cash, but she also turned down the lucrative job offer the first time.
  • Penny Among Diamonds: Ha-won is a modern-day Cinderella (no money of her own, abused by her stepfamily) who is initially out of place in the world of the ultra-rich Kangs and their associates.
  • Prefers Rocks to Pillows: As a result of her stepfamily's abuse, Ha-won initially sleeps in the storage room. When she moves into Haneul House her room has a big, luxurious bed that she has trouble falling asleep on. She winds up sleeping on the floor under her desk.
  • Romantic Fakeā€“Real Turn: Hyun-min recruits Ha-won to act as his fiancee for the wedding, and continues to teasingly refer to her as such after she moves in with him and his cousins. A third of the way through the show, he admits that he wants to try dating her for real.
  • Shock Value Relationship: In the first episode, Hyun-min pays Ha-won to pretend to be his fiancee at his grandfather's wedding just to cause a stir.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The main female characters are the brusque, self-sufficient fighter Ha-won and the romantic, conventionally feminine aspiring seamstress Hye-ji. Ha-won is insecure about it and assumes guys prefer pretty girly girls like Hye-ji.
  • Unfortunate Item Swap: Ha-won and Seo-woo accidentally swap phones in the first episode and don't get things sorted out until the second. It's how Ha-won doesn't find out that she's become the subject of intense public scrutiny since they now think she's dating Hyun-min.
  • Vacation Episode: In episode 7, Chairman Kang rewards Ha-won with a vacation. She decides to take the boys, along with Yoon-sung, Hye-ji, and her friend Ja-young to the Kangs' swanky vacation home. Cue poolside shenanigans, horseback riding, and drinking games in episode 8.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: In episode 8 Yoon-sung projectile vomits after one too many drinks.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Ha-won's stepmother treats her like a servant, verbally abuses her, and makes her sleep in the storage room. When her father comes by for a visit, the stepmom pretends to be a good woman struggling to connect with her stepdaughter, but insults Ha-won in private. When she gets her wish and Ha-won moves out, the stepmom becomes envious that she's moved into the illustrious Kang mansion and continues to try and sabotage her.